Browsing Tag

Belgium

Editorials

Shooting Antwerpen’s Design Scene for Conde Nast Traveller, July Issue

July 15, 2015

What if I had less than 72 hours to shoot 20 locations in Antwerpen, the Fashion Capital of Belgium?
It happened last October when I was visiting Flanders and got assigned to shoot a great story for Conde Nast Traveller about the design and creative scene in Antwerpen. It wasn’t about the ‘Antwerp Six’ designers, nor about the Diamond industry the city is well known for. This 10-page article is mostly about trendy hotels, new restaurants, bars, cafe’s, upcoming designers in their boutiques, all perfectly designed.

In fact, it wasn’t my first time visiting Antwerpen. Some of the locations I shot, I knew from a previous visit to Antwerpen. You can read more about it here, so it helped me to navigate faster throughout the streets. This current assignment was hectic and busy.

But beside the tight schedule, the challenge was the weather. Grey sky and rain didn’t really help to portray a story which would run in July… I prayed for some Sun, and when it came out, I shot outdoors as much as I could.

To download the full article, please click here. To get some of the highlights addresses and top locations of this stylish city, please scroll down.

Where to Stay: 

* Owners Ilse Cornelissens and husband Tim Van Geloven lived on the upper floors of concept store Graanmarkts 13 until they moved out and opened The Apartment (Summer 2014). The interiors are distinctly Scandi-slick. The bathtub is marvelous and the sunny terrace compensates for rainy days.

* More ‘bed and coffee’ than anything else, Room National‘s three rooms are perfectly placed for shopping on Nationalestraat and checking out fashion exhibitions at MoMu. The room to book is 01, an all-white suite (designer and stylist sisters Vera and Violetta Pepa did the interiors)

* Hotels in Antwerpen can be a bit hit and miss, but contemporary boutique Hotel Julien is the exception, with a busy bar, small spa and fantastic views of the cathedral from the roof terrace.

Where to Eat and Drink:

* Fresh in flavor and though, simple dishes by chef Seppe Nobel incorporate honey from Graanmarkt 13‘s bees and vegetables from the kitchen garden. Gin and Tonics are artfully garnished with basil and violets grown on the roof. Seppe is extremely friendly and helpful in choosing the right dish. Highly recommended to make reservations.

* Eye-catching interiors and exquisite cooking make The Jane to be the hottest table in Antwerpen. Located in a renovated chapel in one of the up and coming areas in Antwerpen,designed by Piet Boon and ran by chef Nick Bril, this restaurant is a mix of design, designed food and amazing music, which set up the atmosphere. Reservations are a must.

* Konditori is a hip bakery which supplies The Apartment with breakfast of Paris-quality croissants, fresh bread and cloud-light custard cream pastries.

* t’Zilte is a two-Michelin starred restaurant at the top of the MAS. Worth going for the views alone (the port and marina of Antwerpen) but the food is some of the most sophisticated in the city.

* If you are looking for a relaxed neighborhood restaurant in Berchem area, try Veranda. Simple, yet cosy design with some low-key fashion crowd.

* You might need a taxi to get to Het Pomphuis, but this place worth the travel. A formal dining in an unusual setting, housed in an old-dry dock pumping station by the docks. Peer over the banister of the grand stairway to see some of the old iron pumps below.

* Up for a coffee place? Try Normo. A micro-roastery, shop and cafe serving proper drip-filter coffee and cold brews for those who take coffee seriously. (Like me).

* And if you are more of a cocktail person, and even if you are not, you must head to Dogma Cocktails. The young mixologist Didier Van den Broeck is cracking tiki cocktails based on your preference. His knowledge and memory is phenomenal.

* When I entered Korsakov Cafe, I couldn’t stop shooting. Simple, wooden furniture and colorful tile, this is a corner cafe where you might see a local model hanging out there, or even Mario Testino popping for a Vogue’s shoot.

* Dome sur Mer is a relaxed seafood restaurant and sister of Michelin starred restaurant Dome.

Where to Shop:

* Buy into the Graanmarkt 13 lifestyle, with ceramics and glassware from the restaurant and The Apartment. Various local designers in this A-list curated store.

* This place might look like a film set props warehouse, with industrial lights, chesterfields, hanging model planes and mannequins. If you are in favor of vintage style, Loft Styles, is the place to go. Better go there on a Sunday when the whole street comes to life and crowded with locals and tourists.

* At the same street as Loft Styles, Recollection was one of my favorite. It is a smart store for modern lifestyle essentials; From Maison Martin Margiela homeware to art and design books and Aesop products. I felt like I stepped into one of Alice in Wonderland’s holes.

* In contrast to the city’s many traditional diamond sellers, Wouters & Hendrix is a unique jewellery line by two young Academy graduates. Don’t be surprised to find pieces with unusual chicken-feet clasps and jagged edges.

* Helder is an interior design studio which spills into a shop for sleek lamps, handmade jewellery and chic embroidered badges.

* Just across the street there is Magazyn, a black and white, copper, glass and leather design objects for the home.

* One of the most talked about boutiques is Atelier Solar. Located in a less stylish area of the city, this beautiful store is setting the tone for this up and coming area. Great space, with a small garden and a kitchen, when temporary parties and some cooking are taking place. If you are lucky, you can catch the owner/designer Jan Jan Van Essche or the co-owner Pietro. Young and artistic crowd. Great Space.

 

Editorials Travel

AT Magazine October Issue

October 17, 2013

Since my recent visit to Flanders on July, I’ve written a few articles about Antwerp; The main one was my Wanderlist on AFAR Magazine, on my blog and the recent one, for At Magazine, a Fashion and Lifestyle magazine in Israel. The article is about Antwerp and my recommendations where to shop, dine and what to do. I like the layout and how it came out. Hope it makes the readers book a flight to Antwerp.

Design & Lifestyle

Welcome to WasBar; Ghent, Flanders

September 25, 2013

WasBar, Cafe, Gent, Antwerp, Travel, Cafe, Flanders

Hey Ladies!

If you want to see young guys talking about laundry detergents or getting some folding tricks, head towards WasBar (available in Gent and Antwerp, Flanders)

WasBar is a winning concept of a launderette and a cafe, which is now getting a twist and raising its functional appeal with the addition of a hairdresser and a working space, all under one roof in a well designed space.

Here is a great clip that explains about the place and its concept.

The founders of WasBar are two young guys, Dries Henau and  Yuri Vandenbogaerde, both live in Gent, known as a University city, with lots of students who live in dorms or student apartments that sometimes lack the laundry machines. Dries and Yuri themselves, used to take their laundry to their mothers during the weekend, and I guess at a certain point they got tired of it. They asked themselves ‘What does the student want?’ They came out with the assumption that students want to spend their time more usefully and enjoy while waiting for the whirring machines.

So they decided to create a special place for that.

Their concept won a TV competition for young entrepreneurs (The flemish version of The Apprentice) and they opened the space in Gent on October 2012 and recently expanded to Antwerp.

Dries and Yuri pay attention for everything. They chose a young and hype design studio, PinkEye which created a suitable designed and colorful space for the students and the young professionals in Gent. I loved the graphic identity of the place; from a clothes-pin crossed with a bottle opener logo, to the pink-light blue and mint green color palette, not to mention that each laundry machine has a name! The laundry machines are named after women while the tumble dryers are named after men.

The space is opened till 10pm and there is no better thing than overhearing two young guys in their 20s discussing laundry matters.

WasBar, Antwerp, Gent, Flanders, cafe

WasBar, Antwerp, Gent, Flanders, cafe

WasBar, Antwerp, Gent, Flanders, cafe